The Black Country Living Museum has been given around 100 metres of the tram track that the Midland Metro Alliance removed from the Bilston Road maintenance project in Wolverhampton. The donation was made after discovering the rail in Wolverhampton was compatible with the track of the vintage tramway at the tourist attraction in Dudley.
Paul Brown, Midland Metro Alliance Project Director for the Bilston Road Tram Track Replacement Project, said: “Whilst the track along Bilston Road was reaching the end of its operational life for such a busy route, there was still enough life in the track for a smaller vintage tramline. The Midland Metro Alliance puts sustainability at the heart of everything that it does and we are pleased the old track being removed from Bilston Road will be recycled at such a popular West Midlands venue for the enjoyment of all.”
Black Country Living Museum announced its expansion plans earlier in the summer upon gaining significant financial support from the National Lottery. The major development project, BCLM: Forging Ahead will see the Museum create a historic town focused on the1940s to 1960s.The donated track will be cleaned-up by the team at the museum before being used in maintenance and expansion projects.
Tim Shields, Curator for Industry and Transport at BCLM, said: “We’re really grateful to the Midland Metro Alliance for this very generous donation of track. An important part of our major new development project ‘BCLM: Forging Ahead’ is the extension of our visitor tramway and we hope to use this particular track to create a turning radii to take historic trams along our 1930s street. We are especially pleased that it has been saved from its previous location in Bilston and will be put to good use at the Museum for years to come.”
The Museum in Dudley, which attracted over 300,000 visitors last year, will ultimately be accessible by tram too when the proposed Wednesbury to Brierley Hill tram extension opens in 2023. This tram route, which is one of the seven projects that the Midland Metro Alliance is developing on behalf of the West Midlands Combined Authority, will enhance public transport accessibility across the Black Country and reduce journey times to key attractions in the region, including the Museum, which has to date only been easily accessible by car.
Preparatory work has already been completed on the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill project with vegetation clearance and ecological studies taking place earlier this year. In the coming months, the team from the Midland Metro Alliance will be carrying out structural survey works along the proposed route, including the numerous bridges.